Making big changes for my health/CFS: going gluten free/sugar free. 1 1/2 weeks in!


As you know I have had a few health problems in the last 10 months, starting with glandular fever last August, which has resulted in my immune system packing its bags and heading off into the sunset without me. One of the worst things about having glandular fever for me was daily nausea and a lack of appetite. Food was no longer tasty or enjoyable so I often turned to toast and stodge as it was comforting and easy for me to make. I could barely shower and get dressed, let alone cook a decent meal! Fast forward a few months and my appetite/tastes are still all over the place.

To give myself the best chance of recovering from chronic fatigue syndrome I recently sought advice from a nutritional therapist (recommended to me by one of my Twitter/IG pals - thanks Caroline!). I knew my diet was terrible but the whole process was a wake-up call that I needed to start making more of an effort with food in order to fuel my body to recover. After analysing my food diaries and having a Skype appointment with Rebecca, who specialises in helping those with chronic fatigue syndrome (check out her fab business here!), I was provided with lots of guidance on what I can do to improve my health.

Basically my diet mainly consisted of sugary treats and carbs. Tasty, sure, but not really doing me any favours. I was trying to drink lots of water but tea/coffee were my drink of choice especially when I needed a little energy boost (note: most of the time).

So what am I doing? Lots of things! For the past week and four days I have been gluten free and sugar free. Sounds massively hard doesn't it? I actually haven't found it too bad so far. I have had a couple of accidental slip-ups and a purposeful slip-up when my mum brought a slab of Victoria Sponge round for us, but I'm confident that I can keep going with it and commit to it fully.

As well as taking supplements to help the bacteria in my gut, I am eating protein with every meal and snack, drinking at least 2 litres of water a day, limiting carbs, cutting right back on caffeine, and getting lots and lots of fruit and veggies in. There are also lots of foods I need to include to support good bacteria in my belly such as garlic, oregano, leeks, and coconut oil.

I thought I would miss bread but I can't say that I have. I already feel so much less bloated, my tummy is flatter, and I can feel a small increase in my energy levels already which I hope will continue.

Being someone with a massive sweet tooth, it has been tough at times to cut out sugary treats, especially when I see my boyfriend tucking into chocolate, biscuits and cake. The first thing I did after my consultation was pay Madeleine Shaw's blog a visit to find a recipe for a healthy dessert. I made her raw brownies and they were amazing! A small square of those was enough to keep my cravings at bay. They are so chocolate-y and sweet! Other than that I occasionally have some dark chocolate and this week I picked up some Coyo yoghurt which I don't love but it's better than nothing! However I find that the meals and snacks I eat now fill me up for so long that I don't always have room for pudding!

My goals:

- To clear my "brain fog" and be able to concentrate and focus on things more

- To feel more energetic, especially first thing on a morning

- Ideally I would like to lose a little bit of the weight I have put on over the last 10 months

- To stick with being gluten free and sugar free 100% of the time, trying new recipes as much as possible especially experimenting with "healthy cake" so that I don't miss out on occasions when others are having it

- To feel well enough to get back to my normal work/life routine would be the ultimate goal and one I hope to achieve!

Are you gluten free or sugar free or have you tried either before? I am particularly nervous about eating at cafes/restaurants so if anybody knows good places in Sheffield to visit please do let me know in the comments box.


  1. Well done! I have IBS and try to keep gluten to a minimum but it is difficult and I impressed with your will power, hope it works for you x

    1. Thank you! I think I'm so desperate to get better that I will try anything! Thankfully it's really helping :)

  2. I don't know if it might help you but when I kept feeling exhausted I had a blood test and I was anaemic and lacking in B12, I have been taking a B12 mouth spray supplement and spatone supplements for iron in orange juice, I only take them every other day as they can make you a bit constipated but that and eating a vegan/vegetarian (depending on what food is literally available as it was only vegetarian on a recent holiday) I have been feeling much better and had a lot more energy xx

    1. Thanks for your comment Sarah! <3
      I've had blood tests done for everything under the sun. That's how I got my CFS diagnosis because all my tests came back clear. I wish something had come up in the blood tests so that there would be a chance to treat it. Hopefully my gluten/sugar free diet will continue to do the trick. I feel so much better already! x

  3. PB and apple is one of my favourite snacks! Try slicing the apple, sprinkling with cinnamon and putting in the microwave for 45 seconds- tastes like apple pie!

    Claudia xx

    1. Ooh yes, I love adding a bit of cinnamon and heating it up. I do that sometimes. Thank you for stopping by! <3 xx

  4. I've been following a low FODMAP diet for my IBS which gluten free and rules out other foods like garlic, onion and dairy. It is really working for me. I also live in Sheffield and been searching for GF restaurants. Chains like Zizzis and Carluccios have GF menus. Vintage Tea Rooms on Abbeydale Road can do GF menu if you call them the day before and Ferdinandos Italian on Meadowhead have GF menu and it's lovely. I also saw your other post about the Italian take away so we are trying those tonight!

    I've found it can be awkward being ''the fussy eater' when I eat socially but I'm getting used to it now! There are also some good GF cookbooks out there.

    Fiona :)

    1. Thank you so much for these recommendations Fiona! <3
      I always feel like the fussy one. I did FODMAP a few years ago when I had a lot of tummy trouble. Over the years I have been vegetarian, dairy free, etc etc. And now this! But if it improves my health I don't mind having a slightly more difficult time finding good restaurants to go to.
      Have a lovely weekend! xx